Stevie Nicks gave an emotional speech about the late Tom Petty at the MusiCares Person of the Year event Friday, choking up as she recalled the rocker, who died in 2017.
"He was not only a good man to go down the river with, as Johnny Cash said," Nicks noted, "he was a great father and he was a great friend... He was one of my best friends. My heart will never get over this."
People magazine reports that Petty's daughter Adria was in the audience for the show, which honored Nicks' iconic band Fleetwood Mac.
Nicks also revealed that Petty, last year's MusiCares honoree, told her privately how special it was to him that he was honored. "And maybe he was talking about it because [he] was ill. He was not well," Nicks said.
Petty died October 2, 2017, of an accidental drug overdose, including the opioid fentanyl. Petty passed away just a week after completing a 40th anniversary Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour, which Nicks said spoke well of his determination.
"He should’ve canceled [the tour], and he should’ve just gone home and gone to the hospital," she said. "But not Tom. He was gonna go down that river. And so, God bless him, he finished his tour at the Hollywood Bowl. Three shows. And one week later he died — but he got down the river."
It was on that final tour that Nicks and Petty last performed together — she joined the band for renditions of the Heartbreakers album track "Insider" as well as the duet "Stop Draggin' My Heart Around" that was a #3 hit in 1981 for Nicks and Petty.
The MusiCares event was attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton, Miley Cyrus, Lorde, Harry Styles and many other famous names. MusiCares, the Recording Academy's charity, offers a safety net to those in need. Services cover financial, medical, and personal emergencies, and focuses on the needs of those in the recording industry.